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No evidence of coronavirus transmitting via faecal-oral route: Expert

CORONAVIRUS | No cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been confirmed as being infected through the faecal-oral route, an expert said at a press conference held by Hubei Provincial People's Government on Monday.

Jiang Rongmeng, a member of an expert team organised by the National Health Commission for controlling coronavirus pneumonia, and a chief physician at Beijing Ditan Hospital, said the virus is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets and contacts among the 17,205 confirmed cases reported in Chinese mainland by the end of Sunday, which has been proved by epidemiology.

Jiang said droplets expelled from a cough or sneeze will not contaminate the air, as it will land on item surfaces like a door knob or elevator buttons.

"Research shows a virus on a smooth surface survives for several hours. It can survive for days with suitable temperature and humidity. For example, it is suitable for it to live in a 20°C air-conditioned environment or in 40 to 50 percent humidity.

"Some researches have shown previously discovered coronaviruses can possibly survive for five days," he said.

Jiang advised the public to wash hands frequently and do not touch eyes or nose after exposure to a virus-contaminated surface.

As medial experts found viral nucleic acids in patients' stool and rectal swabs after they noticed that the initial symptom of some patients infected with the coronavirus was diarrhea only, instead of a fever, which is more common, Jiang said no infected patients' epidemiology has been traced to the faecal-oral route of transmission so far.

"Although viral nucleic acids were found in faeces of infected patients, the virus has not been acquired yet. So we will keep observing to get further details. And the faecal-oral route of transmission cannot be confirmed even if the virus is found."

Faecal-oral transmission is enabled when people drink faeces-contaminated water or food, Jiang said. 


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